“It has all left some wondering just what

“It has all left some wondering just what the culture at Florida was at the time. Was this a program filled with players of questionable character, or was it a program that is now receiving unfair scrutiny because of a heinous act attributed to one of its former players?”

Oh yeah? Maybe that would have been a better article to write than this series of rhetorical questions and taken-at-face-value quotes. 

Hoping that teaching writing in the fall doesn’t leave me this peeved all the time. 


Long time no post


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Time definitely got away from me at the end of the semester (and all through winter break and at the beginning of the semester….) but with the return of work comes the return of procrastination. Given that my schedule this semester is fairly open in terms of external constraints, if not in terms of things that actually need to be completed (eeeek), this might help me structure my time a little better (wishful thinking). 

This winter has reminded me why I truly love winter in the northeast. Part of it, I’ll freely admit, is the smug satisfaction I get from being properly warm under all my layers–even when it’s -6 F outside. You can look askance at my furry ear-flap hat (yeah, I saw you, girl at the bus stop. You were laughing a little) and marshmallow man jacket, but I’m WARM. The other parts of it are: running around in the snow/sledding, heated car seats, snow, not sweating when I walk up the hill, and cozy winter foods. To that end, I made this recipe mashup that borrows a little from a Smitten Kitchen white bean and pasta recipe and this Bon Appetit chorizo and white bean stew. It’s also another excuse to use my new pots and pans (thanks mom and dad!). As part of my continuing effort to buy ‘nice’ meat I bought some pretty darn expensive chorizo, so it’s nice to know that this one batch will last me quite a while. I know kale has become a sort of trendy ingredient. I’m still not crazy about it unless it’s slipped into places I barely notice it. This definitely qualifies as that kind of recipe. 

  • 1 lb chorizo
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • splash vermouth
  • 1 cup stock (chicken or veggie)
  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini beans
  • 1 15 oz can of small white beans
  • ~2 cups kale (de-ribbed and sliced)
  • ~2 cups baby spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • box of rigatoni
  1. Cook the pasta before or as you’re making the topping
  2. Brown the chorizo in about 1 Tbsp olive oil (mine was pre-cooked so it really was a matter of browning and not cooking) for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Remove the chorizo and deglaze the pan with a little vermouth. Add the onions, garlic, and sprig of thyme and sautée until onions are soft, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Add the beans and stock and simmer for 8-10 minutes. I ended up adding a little water (~1/4 cup) and some vermouth at this stage because 1 cup of stock wasn’t quite enough. Mash some of the beans with the back of your spatula if you want to thicken the sauce. 
  5. Add the kale first, and then the spinach. Stir and let cook until the kale is to desired softness. 
  6. Serve over cooked rigatoni. 




Tomorrow I’ll be attempting Katie’s buffalo chicken dip for a super bowl party; I will not be attempting to live up to her enthusiasm for or knowledge of football. But for tonight, I’ll enjoy some of my Bacchus growler and attempt to cover the theoretical framework for my dissertation in the space of a page. You know, the usual. 


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One month between posts–that’s not too bad, right? Because classes ended on December 1st this year, from mid-November onward there wasn’t much reprieve. Luckily for me, I only have one paper left to finish and it’s at the stage of knowing what I have to write to tie it up nicely. This is very different from omigoshihavetowritefivepagesbytomorrow, and infinitely preferable. I completed my grading for the semester, my reimbursement forms are turned in, and I have a bunch of books coming into the library this week that pertain to my own research. These are the things a happy grad student is made of.

Here are some other things that happiness is made of:

1.Candied Bacon (no explanation needed)

Candied Bacon

2. Friends and momos

Momo makings MomosYou can’t go wrong standing around in a kitchen with some friends, some wine, and a whole lot of momos to make. This is all thanks to my friend, originally from Tibet, who decided this was how he wanted to celebrate his birthday (definitely a good plan!). He made two kinds of fillings–one with lamb and one with bison–and both had a bunch of veggies and seasoning. It took me a little while to get the hang of making these pillowy dumplings, but he was very patient with all of us. They all went into a huge steamer and emerged as little pockets of heaven.

steamer3. Pen pals 

xmascardOk, so I didn’t make this card this year (it must be from last year or the year before), but everything is better when you can send special people special cards.

4. Holiday Parties

party spread

I think this almost goes without saying. You mean I get to make something tasty, dress up, and hang out with people I like? Triple win. I made these candied nuts with smoked almonds (so so good. At least 3 people asked me for the recipe) and some pigs in blankets. I was very excited to find that Applegate farms makes organic smoky pork mini-franks; they were perfect and it was such a quick thing to do before the party. I wasn’t hosting, but I figure it’s always nice to help a friend out.

5. Finishing the work you have to do

Okay, so this one is still incomplete. Which is why I should go finish that last paper instead of wasting time on the internet. Sigh


As far as I can tell, gjetost (also sometimes spelled geitost) is one of those divisive foods that some people love and others cannot stand. It’s made from goat’s milk whey but is caramelized, producing a dense, creamy, golden brown ‘cheese’ that’s somewhere on the spectrum between cheese and milk caramel. I love it because it’s right in that delicious saltysweet zone but my grandmother can’t stand it, and my mom is not crazy about its in-between properties. Today I discovered a use that even my mom could theoretically be on-board with: salad topped with some tart/crisp apples (I used Braeburns), thinly sliced gjetost, and a vinaigrette. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know) it was once valued for contributing extra vitamins to the diet, something that has since been deemed outweighed by the fat/sugar content. Whatever, I still like it.

This is somewhat related to the lecture I went to last night: Heather Paxson discussing the work behind her book on The Life of Cheese, an “anthropological study of American artisanal cheesemaking.” Added to the list of winter break reading, I think.

Well, that turned out okay. Phew. I’m regretting staying up to watch the concession/victory speeches this morning (double coffee time), but at the time it seemed absolutely vital. The more disappointing thing is that our local Congressional race went Republican by a fairly narrow margin, further giving credence to the bumper sticker “Ithaca: 10 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality.”

Now turning to other back-burner issues:

1) Imagine Tim Gunn saying these things to you as you write term papers/anything. I think it helps

2) These apple cider caramels from Smitten Kitchen are so, so good. It’s especially beneficial to have a porch where it is currently 26 F. It works for chilling them nicely.

3) Today, M.T. Anderson is giving the opening lecture for the exhibition “Wardrobes and Rabbit Holes: A Dark History of Children’s Literature” (put on by Cornell’s Rare Manuscripts division). The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing reminded me why historical fiction can be so worthwhile to read and why labeling something YA doesn’t mean it’s easy or light-hearted or ‘too young’ for anyone. I’m looking forward to it.

4) I had a number four, but I suspect I won’t remember it until after I have a second cup of coffee/nap. Which means it’s time to stop dilly-dallying (with apologies to my poor little WordPress that I never update regularly) and move on with the morning.

Traveling ‘senior speed’

Over fall break I traveled with my grandmother to France to an archaeological conference in Vichy. We also had a few days in Paris at the end of the trip to visit museums and soak up the city. I managed to get a cold the day we left, so that was kind of a bummer, but I managed to sleep a lot while we were in Vichy so by the time we got back to Paris I was just going through a lot of tissues.

Positive things about traveling senior speed:
-Tea in the afternoons
-Mystery novels
-Excellent museums at a doable pace
-No pressure to carouse

Negative things about traveling senior speed:
-No carousing
-Not getting any work done (to be fair, this is a negative thing about traveling in general)
-Eating dinner earlier than any Parisian would ever think of doing.

So as you can see, the positives heavily outweighed the negatives. I also got to eat some fantastic food (France, duh). The rabbit I had at Chez Janou was so, so good. I also got to feel a little bit superior when two American ladies were seated next to us (see above: early dining) and they couldn’t read the menu. Thanks Mme Root! I of course tried some macarons, and had some excellent onion soup (just the thing when one has a cold). I must really be American though, because I can’t quite get on board with croissant for breakfast every morning; by the end i was definitely missing my (relatively) puritanical cold cereal. I still like my coffee with hot milk though.

Lament of a nearly-empty pantry

Last night I had a dinner crisis at about 9pm. I’d had a huge lunch and was working away at grading papers all afternoon and then suddenly I was starving. Of course it just so happens that I’m getting down toward the dregs of my pantry and there’s really nothing ready to eat. Luckily, I turned up a copy of The Flexitarian Cookbook that Katie left when she went to Cyprus. I didn’t quite end up making the recipe I found (last time I followed a recipe and it didn’t turn out well my mom said in a surprised/chiding tone “but we never follow the recipe in this family!), but it was delicious nonetheless. So here’s my heavily modified version of their ‘Baked Spinach Cakes Topped with Caramelized Onions’

1 package frozen spinach
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (had some stale bread lying around)
2 eggs
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and ground mustard to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter, melted
bacon fat (had it lying around)
1 red onion, sliced thinly (last one in the house)
dash of red wine (figured, might as well)

-Preheat oven to 350

-Mix spinach, eggs, cheese, breadcrumbs, spices, and melted butter in a bowl.

-Spoon into a muffin tin. Remember that these won’t rise or anything so make them as full or low as you’ll ultimately want them to be.

-Bake for 25-30 minutes

-Sautée the onion in the bacon fat and splash of wine until they’re soft and caramelized.

-Serve onions on top of spinach cakes.

If I’d had the right ingredients I probably would have used feta instead of parmesan, and used dill and some garlic powder for the flavoring, making it a little more Mediterranean. Today I’m having the leftovers over quinoa for lunch, and then I’m finally going grocery shopping. It’s bad news when you’re down to your last onion.

Back to baking weather

I wrote a whole post about how much I love The New Basics Cookbook for it’s quirk and capaciousness, how I made crowd pleasing pancakes on Saturday morning and a crowd pleasing Guinness devil’s food cake on Saturday afternoon, how everyone should try sauerkraut fritters, how I love going to whiskey tastings, how I’m going to buy plants at the Plantations Fall Plant Sale and too many books at the book sale, how bagels in upstate NY just aren’t the same, how much I’m enjoying The Indian Slow Cookerhow necessary it is to have a beautiful day where you can just go watch some friends play rugby, and how I’m really not actually eligible for AARP. But then WordPress ate it 😦  


Long time no see.

The end of the summer has me seriously appreciating this list of “jobs I can do while wearing jorts.” I note that ‘archaeologist’ is not on there, but it’s definitely viable. This of course based on my own summer activities AND every photo I’ve ever seen of southwestern archaeologists from the 1970s (imagine a lot of trucker hats, aviators, mustaches, and jorts).


(Kalavasos dam, jorts not pictured)

Onto earworms. The beginning of classes, planning for exams, and trying to find all those things I packed randomly and then put away even more randomly has this Terry Malts song going through my head. Other music on endless repeat this summer: Bleached, Class Actress-Weekend (perfect for driving with the windows down [thanks to H-J]), and Mount Moriah’s Lament, which I heard almost a year ago and still can’t get enough of.

I need to get in the habit of writing more substantive posts, so I’ll ease into it by talking about how much I like this Roald Dahl story (The Landlady).  A friend sent it to me following a conversation about vaguely creepy short stories, and I’m so glad he did. It’s delightfully suggestive of sinister things; I can just imagine the cover art being done by Edward Gorey. The boarding house would have intricately hachured wallpaper, naturally, and the dog would not look as conventional as a usual dachshund. In a similar (although slightly less quirky) vein, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery is still one of my favorite short stories.

That place on the edge of quirk and creepiness is very appealing to me, probably because I avoid things that are actually scary (It’s a low bar. When I was seven we went to see Hocus Pocus in the theater. IMDb categorizes it as a comedy. I was afraid to sleep alone/with the window open/without a ring of salt around my bed for days afterward. So.).  It’s just enough to make me shiver but not enough to keep me awake, or make me check behind the shower curtain every time I go in the bathroom, or have me thinking about the best way to keep marauding zombies out of my apartment.

I was also very glad to spend more time at the Cape this summer, even if I did have to get some reading done while there. It was nice to feel like I could sink back into myself (especially my sailing, swimming, clamming, knot-tying, bookworm self). The sunsets weren’t bad either.

So now to plan a September return before everything gets too crazy…..